Tag Archives: sexuality

Why people just seem to miss the boat on Slut Shaming and Body Policing

This semester I’ve become very passionate about a small subset of feminism. I’ve been taking my Intro to Research Methods course, in which you are supposed to write a research proposal. My proposal is about examining slut shaming rhetoric on the blogs Total Frat Move and Total Sorority Move. If the term slut shaming is new to you, don’t worry. It’s a coined term of art that has only appeared in the past 5-10 years but the concept it describes is one as old as time (probably, anyways). Soraya Chemaly, a writer for the Huffington Post, defines slut shaming as the “embarrassing, insulting or otherwise denigrating a girl or woman for her real or extrapolated sexual behavior, including for dressing in a sexual way, having sexual feelings and/or exploring and exhibiting them.” It’s a growing epidemic according to Leora Tanenbaum, author of the book “Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation, who states that by the time a female graduates college, she will have experienced slut shaming at some point in her life. Body policing falls into the categorization of slut shaming. In effect, body policing is the shaming of what a girl wears or looks like because it doesn’t suit her body, whether it shows too much of her “womanly figure” or whether someone thinks she’s too skinny or overweight to wear whatever she’s wearing.

So I’m guessing your wonder what brought me to talk about this subject today. Well while on a study break I came across this post on my Facebook:

body policing

I agree with the the original post, the picture. The reason we police women’s bodies and tell them what/what not to wear is to “protect them” from the boys who will automatically degrade them or be distracted by their attire. This is treating the symptom to the problem. The reason that men do this sort of behavior is because of how we social men to associate to women. Men are taught that they should dominate others to have power, especially women (a reason why their is a sexual assault epidemic in our society). Men are told that women are yours for the taking whether she wants you or not (which is reinforced by certain types of pornography and other types of media). These and other small behaviors teach men and women that its the WOMAN’S fault for the MAN’S behavior.

Here’s the problem I have with the comment:

1. This woman assumes that women and girls dress in “provocative” or “racy” clothing because their trying to get males attention. While yes, some people do, some women do it because they like a certain outfit, it could be hot outside, or she just wants to feel good about herself and dressing like that gives her confidence. REGARDLESS, a woman should be about to wear whatever she wants because it is her body and most of the people making the policies (ie school boards) are predominately male.

2. She says that women to respect themselves. However she links that if you wear A TANK TOP you don’t have self respect. I can respect myself and wear whatever I god damn please. This specific type of logic tells women that you only dress a certain way so you can have a man, when I wear whatever I want because I feel like it. I can wear a body con dress out because I look hot in it and I gives me confidence, not because I’m trying to get a man.

3. She says dressing in a certain way is detrimental to your health. The reason it’s detrimental to our health is because we’ve created a society where women are blamed for men’s actions. The reason women can’t dress in a provocative fashion is because we teach men that women are for their taking and they should be violent to anyone (but especially women) if they want to dominate anyone. If you want to STOP the problem with violence against women, treating the symptoms haven’t solved anything. Teaching women self defense, having women go out in groups, etc has been a strategy going on for a while. While sure it may have helped, slut shaming, rape and other forms of violence against women are a thing that women have to protect themselves against on a daily basis. If you really want to end this epidemic, we need to teach the young males of society that power does NOT come from violence and domination. We need to teach young males that women are AUTONOMOUS and have the right to dress how they want without any reactionary action taken from the. We need to teach young males how to RESPECT women, regardless of what she wears, how she acts sexually, or what she denies you. These solve the root of the problem and until these underlying causes are addressed, we will continue to have these violence acts verses women.

What do you think?

Sam

 

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Beyoncé: Modern Day Feminist Spokesperson

In a recent interview with Out Magazine, Beyoncé spoke out about the double standard that women face when expressing their sexuality.

She was quoted saying

“There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy.”

As well as:

“You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist – whatever you want to be – and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”

In December, Beyonce released a new album, which she had hoped would open up a conversation to address this double standard and start sparking a feminist response. Well, she was right. Women can learn 5 things from Beyonce’s album.

1. Her song Pretty Hurts questions the beauty standards that women are held to; many of which are self destructive.

2. Blow tells women that getting sexual pleasure should be a two way street.

3. Partition- Women should enjoy sex just like men– that includes feminists.

4. Mine teaches girls that motherhood and relationships can be tough for everyone.

5. Flawless teaches girls to be your own independent women (and do more than just be a housewife).

I think Beyonce is an great spokesperson for feminism because she is a popular figure who can incorporate the feminist message into a way that will be openly accepted. Plus she’s pretty much flawless.

retrieved from: http://ryanseacrest.tumblr.com/
retrieved from: http://ryanseacrest.tumblr.com/

What do you think?

Sam

Academy Awards Ignorance? Uproar about Jared Leto’s lack of knowledge about the Trans* Community

Jared Leto has won several awards for his role as a transgender woman in Dallas Buyer’s club, however, members of the trans* community are very upset at the ignorance he has for the people of the community and the oppression and struggle they face on a daily basis. Many have problems with the script of Dallas Buyer’s Club itself, believing the film in and of itself does not accurately portray the story and that the portrayal of the characters are stereotyped and inaccurate

He’s been quoting saying he deserved to play the role as a transgender woman, as a cisgender (one who identifies with the gender they were born as) male, instead of a transgender woman playing the role he was given because “it goes both ways” despite the fact that members of the trans* community rarely get to play roles of cisgender characters. In fact, more often than not- cisgender actors portray transgender characters, and don’t accurately portray the lives of members of the trans* community.

His acceptance speech at the Golden Globe shows ignorance as well. Making inappropriate jokes about getting his entire body waxed and “ladies know what” he’s talking about (having a very traditional gender role script because only ladies get their bodies waxed). As well as referring to the trans* community as the Rayons (his character’s name) of the world instead of by their identity, which many view as problematic.

What do you think? Do you believe that Leto was insensitive to the trans* gender community through his role and his actions after the filming?

Sam

How perceptions affect the Trans* community

I found this fantastic article written by a transgender woman talking about her experiences with her gender identity. There are roughly 700,000 people in the US who identify as transgender in the US. Transgender refers to a person who does not identify with the gender they were given at birth (ie a biological male identifies as a woman). There is a lot of stigma that is attached to being transgender mainly because many people do not consider it “the norm” and it has been gaining a lot of public attention in the past 5-10 years.

There are many theories as to why people are transgender– some believe that it is associate to how much/how little testosterone a fetus is exposed to in utero. Many who identify as trans*gender experience depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as substance abuse before diagnosis due to the internal struggles of not identifying with ones given gender. Many who identify as trans*gender receive hormonal treatments to get the biological traits of the gender they choose to identify as, or even get sexual reassignment surgery.

However, sadly many people do not accept people who identify as trans*gender as their choose gender identity. Many women do not believe that transgender*women (who were born male) are really women because they do not have the internal organs of a woman. I think this is really problematic. It think we should be more inclusive of the trans*community. Just because someone doesn’t have the internal organs doesn’t mean they aren’t a woman. Many who are born as women aren’t born with uterus, like Miss Michigan 2013.

What do you think?

Sam

What I Be Project: Challenging Representations

I came across this awesome project: the What I Be Project. This project consists of a photographer taking pictures of people with their insecurities written somewhere on their body. This project is fantastic– it challenges norms of society dealing with body image, gender, sexuality, abuse, personality, and even career paths.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Sam

Woody Allen: Child Abuse Controversy

retrieved from: http://www.businessweek.com/
retrieved from: http://www.businessweek.com/

Recently, Woody Allen’s adopted daughter brought up her long-time accusation of the sexual abuse her father inflicted upon her during her childhood, after his life-time achievement Golden Globe. Dylan Farrow’s letter to the public was published on the New York times blog and has stirred up a lot of debate among the public, most of whom do not want to admit that one of our “most beloved” actors could have done something so horrendous.

Despite the facts of the case, which there has been a history of some sort of abuse and Connecticut police has enough probable cause to charge Allen with crimes, the American public continues to shame Dylan, trying to make her recant her long time statement. Celebrities like Stephen King say that these allegations aren’t true and Dylan is just being a “palpable bitch”. Sadly these sort of things aren’t unique to Dylan. Rape victims are often blamed and shamed into recanting their statements– this is very common in the United States where we put the victim on trial in order to discredit any chance that what she’s saying may or may not be true to get her perpetrator off. This perpetuates on of many rape myths that women make false rape allegations most of the time– when in reality, only 28% of rapes are reported. In a study, the FBI discovered that an 8% of rapes are “unfounded” meaning maybe they were falsely accused, but that label also includes situations where the women didn’t fight back, the attacker didn’t use a weapon, the attacker and victim had a prior relationship, or if the victim didn’t sustain injuries. When combining these two statistic- only 2.2% of rapes are false accusations (at best).

So when there is a history of abuse in this case and the likelihood of a false alligation is at best 2.2%, why do people continue to believe that Woody Allen didn’t abuse his daughter? Well, we don’t like to think that someone who is so beloved in our culture could truly be a monster. Take the example of iconic Bill Cosby– who was accused of drugging and raping women on multiple occasions, was never charged and settled out of a civil suit with one victim. We idolize these actors, and they get off because they have all the money and power to buy off victims or scare them into not reporting and scaring the cops not to touch them because it could ruing their careers. I think instead of blaming the victim we should take a look at the structures of our society that lets rich men with lots of power get away with horrendous crimes.

What do you think?

Sam

Movies: More Women, More Money

retrieved from: http://noirbabes.com/
retrieved from: http://noirbabes.com/

According to a study of last year’s top 50 movies, movies that have 2 or more women who talk about something that isn’t a man, make up to 60 million more than movies who don’t. This test, called the Bechadel test, has gained popularity in recent years. And while it doesn’t indicate whether a movie advocates for feminist ideals” it does indicate that women do more than just participate in the traditional female stereotypes (ie women are “boy-crazy” or are dependent on men).

So if movies that pass this test make more money- why aren’t Hollywood producers making moves that can pass the Bechadel test? It’s really a question I couldn’t find an answer to. Maybe gender stereotypes trump making money. Maybe Hollywood producers don’t know the statistic on movies that pass this test. Maybe movie goers aren’t ready for all movies to pass this test and break all gender stereotypes. Gender roles and stereotypes die hard unfortunately, most people don’t even know why their problematic (ie they portray false images of said gender and make a norm that most people don’t want to live up to). I think it’s fantastic that most movies that defy gender norms in one way make more money– Hopefully, more Hollywood producers, movie writers, and directors take the hint and start changing their ways.

What do you think?

Sam

Keeping your last name brings more success?

retrieved from: http://www.tuscanaresort.com/
retrieved from: http://www.tuscanaresort.com/

Despite being an undergrad, the more time I spend on facebook, the more and more I see my peers (from high school and college) getting engaged, getting married, and starting families of their own. Many girls my age are starting to think of planning weddings (let’s be real, most of us have wedding pintrest boards) and trying to settle down with a significant other.

I came across an interesting article saying that if a woman keeps her last name she is going to be more successful. This study found more women who are getting married at a younger age (in their 20’s) are less likely to take their husband’s last name than women getting married at an older age (in their 60’s). The study also cites that women in higher prestige jobs (such as medicine, entertainment, or arts) are more likely to keep their last name, which is one reason they’re more successful. Most women also get married at an older age when they choose not to take their husband’s last name, so they already have a career and an identity fully formed.

The study cites that women who don’t take their husband’s name are perceived as not being committed to a marriage and end up being paid less than if they took their husbands last name. I think this is problematic. I think that women should not be forced to take the name of the man she chooses to marry– I think that it should be her decision or a decision she makes jointly with her hubby-to-be. I think choosing not to take a husband’s last name just indicates that that person already has a developed identity and doesn’t feel the need to change it. I also think on the flip side, women who choose to take their husband’s last name shouldn’t be perceived as weak, or dependent on a man– I think both of these decisions are a personal choice that a woman decides how she wants her identity to be (if she wants it to change or not) post-wedding.

What do you think?

Sam

Lauren Conrad: Responding to Patriarchy like a boss

This is an old interview that just recently resurfaced today– Lauren Conrad was on a radio interview show called ‘Sway’s Universe’ and a radio caller called in an asked:

retrieved from: http://www.eonline.com/
retrieved from: http://www.eonline.com/

To which Lauren replied:

retrieved from: http://www.eonline.com/
retrieved from: http://www.eonline.com/

One reason why I truly admire Lauren Conrad is that she shows young women that you can have it all and be anything you want. She went from a tv star in The Hills to an accomplished author, fashion designer, and blogger, with her own websites that has everything from health/fitness tips to fashion trends to craft ideas. The other obvious reason that I adore her is that she took what was meant to be an embarrassing question to help define her by her sexual preferences turned into a quick and witty response that shows that she isn’t a sex object, but she’s a strong woman who can accomplish and do what most men hope to do.

You go Lauren! Do you like her response too?

Sam

 

It’s all about perspective

retrieved from http://ananonymoushistory.wordpress.com/
retrieved from http://ananonymoushistory.wordpress.com/

I think this political cartoon is really awesome about comparing representations between cultures. I think that women especially are quick to judge each other and we forget sometimes that we all are on the same team, fighting the same sorts of problems. I think instead of judging other’s for what they wear or how they act in accordance to their culture, we should examine the structures that define those norms and how they affect women and men at large.

Sam